The type of tuna sashimi blocks 鮪の刺身の冊 I can get at our Japanese grocery store is limited to frozen ahi or yellowfin tuna キハダマグロ, which was treated with carbon monoxide to give it a bright red color (carbon monoxide sounds bad but it is no health hazard when used on food like this). I always keep a tuna block in our freezer “just-in-case”. I have to rotate the stock every several months since unlike wine, the tuna does not improve with time. Since I bought a new tuna block when I stopped by our Japanese grocery store this weekend, I took the old one out of the freezer to thaw. I have posted many times how to make this low-quality tuna sashimi palatable. One of the ways is to make “Zuke” 漬けor marinated tuna. So, I sliced half of the tuna sashimi block and marinated it in a “Goma-dare” ゴマだれ (see below) the night before. This time, I did not do “Yubiki” 湯引き or cooking the surface by dunking it in boiling water and then ice water to halt the cooking. I was not sure how I would serve this “zuke maguro” (marinated tuna) until I learned we were starting the evening with red wine. Then the “path” became pretty clear;
I had to come up with something that went well with red wine. This dish was the result. I was inspired by this picture in one of the food blogs I follow
. This dish is grilled asparagus, poached egg with grated Pecorino Romano
. Since I did not have botargo
or karasumi からすみ, I omitted it and used grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
instead of Pecorino Romano
. Seared zuke tuna is my addition. I poached the eggs as I posted before
Since I prepared green asparagus that morning, this was an easy dish to put together once I decided what I would make.
- I thawed the frozen block of tuna overnight in the refrigerator. I sliced half of the block into half inch thick slices.
- This time I made “Goma-dare” for marinade. I first dry roasted white sesame seeds in a dry frying pan (1 tsp) until slightly darkened and fragrant (the sesame was already roasted but re-roasting it add much more flavor). I ground the seeds in a Japanese Suribachi すり鉢 mortar. I then added mirin, sake and soy sauce in a ratio of 1:1:2.
- I placed the tuna and the marinade in a Ziploc bag to make sure all the surface of the tuna was covered with marinade and removed as much air from the bag as I could. I sealed the bag and kept it in the refrigerator overnight.
- The next evening, I took out the tuna slices, blotted the excess marinade from the surface (picture below) and cut one slice into two.
I thought searing one of the surfaces would add texture and a beef-like flavor which would go better with red wine. I seared the pieces two ways; one by using a kitchen blow torch (those are the ones with the black specs in the picture below) and the other seared in a frying pan with melted butter (the shiny ones on the tops row and right of bottom row).
I got thick spears of green asparagus from our grocery store. I removed the bottom by simply bending and breaking it. Using a vegetable peeler, I peeled the bottom half of the skin and blanched the stalk in salted water. Just before assembling this dish, I quickly sautéed it in melted butter and seasoned with salt and black pepper.
I cut the asparagus on the bias into 3-4 pieces. I arranged the pieces to look like a whole uncut asparagus spear, resting diagonally on a square plate. I arranged the two kinds of seared tuna squares on one side of the asparagus and placed a poached egg on the other side. I grated Parmisiano-Reggiano on top.
This dish followed my octopus carpaccio
and we enjoyed it with a glass of Louse M. Martini Napa Cab as before. The tuna was seasoned well from the marinade and became firmer than non-marinated tuna. Searing added beef like flavor but we could not tell the differences between torched vs
. pan seared. The combination of runny warm yolk and asparagus cannot go wrong. This dish really went well with the California Cab we were having.